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Spit out of the belly of the beast

Reeves In Arthur Magazine's March issue, Dave Reeves writes about his journey into the belly of the beast. He employs the list form -- 14 items -- to give a picture of his several days in the county jail. The conclusion he draws from his incarceration is that any of us, who think prison is for other people, could be writing our own list of do's and don'ts behind bars. Not to lit crit the Arthur columnist, but I would have been glad to read a conventional literary-journalism account of his ordeal. Maybe space was a consideration. (After all, Saturday, one of Ian McEwan's most recent novels, involving a failed mugging, takes place in a single day. So, several days in prison? Reeves probably could have compressed six or seven hundred pages out it. Maybe he will.) Though I'm guessing he just wanted to get straight to the point (i.e., it could be you). So, the list serves. And a sense of rage come through, along with humor. If you're just tuning in, Reeves was sentenced for failing to report a traffic accident in which he was not at fault.

List item #6:

Donít get any tattooes. I didnít have a one and everybody in the joint knew me for the new breed of supermax genius criminal with the foresight not to have identifying marks scrawled all over my body.

Well, there's one "don't" I can embrace. I never thought my lack of tattooes might one day have this kind of utility.

To read the full text of Reeve's story, click here.


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